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Runners begin hopeful season

Girls’ cross country team has big plans for this fall

COURAGEOUS%3A+Senior+Kathleen+Soller+runs+toward+the+finish+line+at+the+Triton+Central+Invitational+meet+that+kicked+off+the+season.+Soller+still+attends+practices+and+meets+despite+ongoing+chemo+treatments.
COURAGEOUS: Senior Kathleen Soller runs toward the finish line at the Triton Central Invitational meet that kicked off the season. Soller still attends practices and meets despite ongoing chemo treatments.

COURAGEOUS: Senior Kathleen Soller runs toward the finish line at the Triton Central Invitational meet that kicked off the season. Soller still attends practices and meets despite ongoing chemo treatments.

Photo by Dave Schrader

Photo by Dave Schrader

COURAGEOUS: Senior Kathleen Soller runs toward the finish line at the Triton Central Invitational meet that kicked off the season. Soller still attends practices and meets despite ongoing chemo treatments.

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The girls’ cross country season began August 14 at the Triton Central Early Bird Invitational. Competing in the large school division required strength and depth that the seniors were able to provide.

The highlight of the meet was a podium finish by junior Katie Minton, who placed 16th; however, Monday evening was not the most notable starting night for the rest of the girls’ cross country squad as the other four of five Rebels finished 26th through 29th, with seniors Stephanie Corbett, Emileigh Wilham, Isabel Laut and sophomore Mary Rose Roesener attributing to those placings.

Frank Litz has seen a lot in his 10 years as head coach, yet he was nontraditionally outspoken with his disappointment of the meet.

“I always tell the girls on the night of the event that whatever we do well is great, and whatever we do poorly [we will] improve on,” Litz said. “Obviously, after that meet [at Triton Central], there was a lot to improve on. A lot of it had to with what we call the championship lifestyle–getting enough sleep and water, staying hydrated. They weren’t on top of that and weren’t ready for the heat that day.”

Despite a generally poor performance, inspiration surfaced as the takeaway factor after the meet when senior Kathleen Soller, in the midst of chemo treatments, participated in the 5K and had a heroic and emotional finish.

“I got a lot of feedback from people who weren’t even associated with Roncalli, people from the other schools as well, who were incredibly inspired,” Litz said. “I have never been more happy to have been proven wrong–I didn’t think she would be able to finish, but she pulled through.”

While Litz was not particularly impressed with the first few meets, many seniors are hopeful for the future of the team.

Senior Olivia Origer is quite optimistic about the remainder of the season, noting positive aspects of the recent meets.

“We are happy with where we are as a team,” Origer said. “A rough patch at the beginning doesn’t have to be the outline for the rest of the season, and I don’t think it will be. We keep improving every day. We did great against three top ranked teams at Pendleton Heights, so things are headed in the right direction.”

The girls will compete tonight at Roncalli, with a special senior ceremony preceding the race.

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Runners begin hopeful season